Saturday, March 9, 2013

Population Control

There is a memory I have that has been bugging me for quite some time. I have a vivid memory from my 6th grade science class, where my teacher taught us about population control. I was 11 or 12 at the time and I still remember the big chart she hung up to horrify us at what would happen to the world if couples had more than 2 children. Of course, she herself had only 2 children.

This was especially horrifying to me because I am the youngest of 4 children (my parents were doing the world a disservice by having me and my brother!) and I always dreamed of having a large family myself.

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This is a topic I struggled with for some time, especially while in college. I read the news every day and often come across articles about population control, the horrors of the world having 7 billion people in it, and the struggles of China finding the farm land to feed all of its people.

It can be difficult to reconcile these seemingly incontrovertible facts about the world being overpopulated with what the Bible says about population control. The Bible essentially says that we are to be fruitful and multiply.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Genesis 1:26 KJV

We see in multiple places in the Bible that God calls children a blessing, that having many of them is a good thing:

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

Some may say that the choice to have sex or not belongs to us, so we can control the amount of children we have without displeasing God by "preventing them". 1 Corinthians 7:5 talks about only refraining from sex in your marriage for agreed upon periods of time for the purpose of prayer (not the purpose of preventing children), and then you must come back together in order to keep the temptation of adultery at bay.

I touch lightly on the topic of birth control, as this is truly a subject that is causes division even within the Christian community. The subject is touched upon in Genesis 38:9-10, but there is some discord as to what God was angry about, Onan's disobedience or his "pull-out" birth control. However, I think it is fair to say that the Bible makes it clear that God loves children, and sees them as a blessing in a marriage. The Bible also encourages married couple to not withhold sex from each other. I think it is quite clear that if we as Christians were to love children as God does, we would wholeheartedly accept all of them that God blesses us with. To God, a baby is never an "oops".

Our modern society has turned children into a burden. How many articles do you see out there about how expensive it is to raise a child these days? Just yesterday I was at the gym and saw 2 pregnant women talking. One of them said to the other "this is my second baby, is that your first?" and the other woman said "no, this is my fourth", to which the first woman said "wow, that is way more than I could handle". It makes me so sad that we live in a society that makes it seem like a 1st child is a blessing, but a 4th child is a burden, and a contribution to the over-population of this world.

I have so many examples of these types of attitudes which I have seen in friends and family, but the point I am trying to make is that children are a blessing no matter what. ALL humans are created by God and made in his image. If the fruits of marriage give you many children, the Bible calls you blessed and happy (Psalm 127)! So apparently happiness according to the Bible isn't necessarily having free time to get away from your kids, but having many children. Of course, many marriages will not result in many children. My husband and I have given this area to the Lord and have found that we may never have a child biologically.

So where does my 6th grade science class fit into this? People who do not believe the Bible are probably reading this post thinking I am crazy. They look at the ideas listed above as just another reason this world is going downhill, as a reason for all the poverty, hunger, and strife in the world.

What they don't understand is that people who believe the Bible whole-heartedly believe that there is God who is in control, who knows what he is doing, and who asks that his people be fruitful and multiply. Our God is a God who provides, and he will continue to provide. If I didn't wholeheartedly believe in this God, and if I hadn't seen the proof of him in my life, I would be terrified of over-population too! Sadly, people who believe this over-population issue have no flexibility. They wholeheartedly believe that people who believe as I do are the problem, and they will never stop believing that as long as they don't believe there is a God who is in control. Unfortunately, that puts us as a stand-still. I will not change my beliefs, and neither will they. However, I encourage all of you who do believe in the Lord, who do see his work in your life, and who do know his gift of the Bible to be true, to stand up for what God says is right and be fruitful, multiply, and be joyful while doing it. (And if you can protect your children from 6th grade science class nonsense while you are at it, I suggest you do).

4 comments:

  1. I agree! I recently read that the whole world's population could fit comfortably in the city limits of Jacksonville FL. God did not make a world that would hold too many people and not provide resources. I'm not saying to have lots of kids so "God will bless you more than 2 kid families" but "controlling" the amount of humans on this earth is not the answer either! Sometimes I think it's a matter of giving away some of what He has blessed us with to those without resources. Great thoughts today!

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  2. It is said to see this mind set in the world today. Its even sadder that its slipping into Bible believing churches....its kinda unconscious.

    Like Lauralea said I heard in my US history class (I don't remember exact statistics) but every person in the world could have one acre and all fit in Australia.

    Though I do believe that we have ways to use birth control without withholding from each other, and though I do think it is wise to do it, there is NOTHING wrong in having lots of kids....if its God's will and you are able to care for them.

    Iris♥

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  3. Agreed!
    I was reading through Deuteronomy just recently and saw the actual penalty for the man who failed to be a redeemer for his deceased brother. The penalty was not death. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+25%3A7-10&version=ESV
    Onan was making Tamar a prostitute by using her for his pleasure that way and denying his deceased brother offspring. I really believe that every man who uses a woman that way is cheapening her and using her similarly to a prostitute (in a sense).
    The more of the Bible I read, the more I am convinced that God is not silent on these issues. Funny how a more biblically literate church in times past thought that too. We (a theologically and biblically illiterate generation) are the ones who tend to question these long held values.

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  4. Thank you for these words of encouragement! Over-consumption of resources is often a factor in the over-population issue. However, I'm always taken back to generations prior which had larger families but less resources. We now have a lifestyle of greater resources (or greater blind consumption of resources at any level) and smaller families. Per person we consume more because we feel we have the "right" to do so. We buy and throw away, run water unnecessarily, and hop in our vehicles multiple times a day without much thought. Only two resource-consumptive children can very quickly equate to several resource-conservative children. I also think back to this previous generation for how they were able to "handle" so many more children. It's not hard to find a woman with one or two children who is over-stressed and overwelmed by the job of wife and mother (as you exemplified in your post). I recently read an article that stated that never before have women experienced motherhood as it is today. The roles of wife and mother haven't changed much, but the training has. Never before have individuals been so ill-prepared for domestic life. I'm not making the argument for homemakers only, but for the balance between domestic and academic education. All in all, I believe that it's all a matter of approach- less consumption, better preparation, and above all a faith in God. :)

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I love to fellowship with others and hear what they have to say. I would ask, however, that you be mindful of what you write and try to be uplifting and respectful. Thank you for sharing!